Voters took advantage of this power in the 2008 presidential election....this is just the beginning. How much else can we change?
Keen on New Media: Did the Internet elect Barack Obama?
By Andrew KeenLondon Independent IndyBlogNovember 10, 2008
Did the Internet elect Barack Obama? Could Obama have been elected without the Internet's citizen-media blogs and the social-networking activism of Facebook users and all those millions of user-generated YouTube videos? Is this really the firstly truly interactive online election which has not only revolutionized the politics of race in America but has also fundamentally changed the way in which media influences and is influenced by democratic politics?
Just as Barack Obama is an ideological hybrid of Chicago street activism and the consensual politics of the US Senate, so the outcome of the 2008 election itself has been shaped by a hybrid of traditional and new media. In fact, old mainstream media and the supposedly new media of the Internet have become so entangled in America that it is becoming increasingly hard to cleanly separate one from the other.
The 2008 election was as equally determined by the popularity of traditional mainstream television clips broadcast on YouTube as it was by the work of influential professional journalists blogging for free on leading websites like HuffingtonPost. The truth is that old and new journalism have converged in America to form a hybrid media which has synthesized the new democratic interactivity of the Internet with the traditional curatorial habits of edited-from-above media.
On a financial level, of course, the internet really has changed everything about American politics. Certainly Obama couldn't have challenged Hillary Clinton or radically outspent John McCain without the estimated $500 million in small donations mostly raised on the Internet. Nor could his campaign have had its remarkable success without its efficacious use of the most up-to-date viral marketing tools of digital technology such as the microblogging service Twitter and the cell phone texting technology Obama used to broadcast his selection of Joe Biden as his Vice-Presidential pick. Indeed, the online development of the Obama brand itself is a casebook example of how the viral internet enables the guerilla marketing of sexy products such as handsome young Harvard educated politicians with messianic messages about redemption and change...more